Fortunately my recent facebook announcement has received interesting responses. All echo.
We do not play Haldern tonight. That is tomorrow.
Almost missed two shows for one small twist of the truth.
Jimi. In shock. Anger ripples.
Chris. Young studio engineer and producer. Owns the KLANGKANTINE. In Darmstadt.
Later give curious eye to his book shelf. Languages. Religions. Cultures.
Almost a social anthropologist, changed course of life before completing his degree. It is the study he appreciates, not the qualification.
Listen to Miss Irenie Rose on an old radio. Belonged to Chris’s grandmother. Then, from the soft gritted speakers we listen to Jonah Mcleary. And a jazz musician. I forget the pianist’s name but he has done variations of Satie’s Gymnopedies and Gnossienes with his trio.
Spend some time alone. A room. Wooden floor. White wall.
Darjeeling tea from Ratan at the Borough Market sat in brew over a candle nearby.
Energy to body time.
All stretches and bends focus on lungs and throat. Blood to them. Breath to them. Shoulder stands. Head stands.
Sit. Still. Try. 15 minutes. What thoughts arise. Wipe them away. Lie half asleep for an hour. Wash.
Then return to Klangkantine.
Jimi is lain on sofa swaddled in incense smog.
Fiene, fond friend to Chris, is curled up asleep in the corner of another. She later helps me with some things to say onstage. Like, ‘when I get home I’m going ski-ing. I like to ski.’
Johannes, fellow engineer to Chris, is bored; Everyone is asleep.
John and Consti arrive with pumpkin lasagne. Pear & apple crumble.
The studio space. 60 sat on little, red cushions. Attentive.
Beautiful gig. So happy to sing.
Chris is excited to mix and master a few tracks.
We wine and mingle.
(almost) a day off
With all this constant movement. Sometimes one just wants to Not move. Not Anywhere. Not even in Barcelona.
Wake up. The rain still pours.
Inks. Pens. Paints. Card to the floor.
A most beautiful hotel room. City centre. Top floor. Huge, wall length window overlooking the bull ring. A museum atop a hill.
Emails observed. Some even responded to.
Stretch. Draw. Play Erikazette the faithful Martin.
Midday. Door knock.
Jimi is grooming.
Self conscious, with all this cheek kiss malark, of his fluff stubble chin. Needs to raid my complimentary toiletry box.
Finally leave our rooms.
Walk 10 metres to the bull ring shopping centre. Once it was a legit bull ring.
Lunch. Ice cream. Consider buying swimming costumes for the Hotel’s rooftop swimming pool. Too expensive.
Ultra-Local is a record shop in Barcelona. Owned by Raul and Carma. Gentle in nature. But, for certes, they are brazen-bold-souled.
To open a record shop in a recession.
Small and homely.
Browse the collection.
Cooncert friends begin to arrive.
A reunion. Like we’ve known each other years. They bring stories, positive feedback, ginger tea, interviews…
Greet like we now know how; jaws suitably trimmed; left cheek right cheek.
Sing ‘But Not for me’ for Carma and Raul who recognise the trumpet solo I’ve been practicing on the guitar.
Eat dinner. Ice cream.
Hurtle into the elevator. White towel bathrobes. Top floor. Into the rain. Into the cold, unswum, water of the rooftop pool.
Then get right back out.
Land. Like the heavy wet. Barcelona airport.
Well worth visiting for the floor surface alone. The Jesus floor. Looks like deep black water.
Jordi and Martha at pick up. Both journalists. Both young, fresh thinkers. Wonderful english speakers (embarrassing) with good ideas and good ideals.
This idea that Jordi has is Cooncert. A sort of ‘power to the people’ type gig.
A community of young innovators keen to make things happen in a country and time of economic difficulty.
Experienced something similar in Italy with our friends of ‘Arci Tom’.
"Together, there are no impossible concerts"
People suggest artists. People make it happen.
I am the first of this experiment. Very well promoted. Pictures. Posters. Tweets. Posts. Competitions. Bells. Swings. Roliepolies.
Near sold out long before we arrive.
A couple, soon to expect the popping of a baby, have been important instigators of my arrival.
Some remember Fink and my support slot.
Descend into the hive at Barcelona Concert Hall. Many excited. Many excitables.
Ramon Mirabet and band on stage.
Cameras mill. Silent humans floating behind. Strange, dark eyed fish.
Everyone is beautiful.
Backstage. Small as a little finger.
Corridor. Narrow as a sparrow’s nostril.
Squeeze. Apologising must be neglected if we are to manage to say anything else to each other.
Christina. Of big brown eye. Soon to complete her psychology degree and begin teaching, I feed her some ginger because she has never tried it raw before.
Give it time, she’ll be back for more.
An adrenaline filled night in Vienna. A sleepless sleeper train. Begins to take toll.
People run about. Speak in Passion flower spanish/catalan.
Struggle like caught balloons in the midst. Want silence. Want space. Want Sopa.
Ramon plays. Ladies sigh.
His band are good.
His cellist and I speak later on how the cello must feel to play. Her flat mate, Daria, and I discover we share a love for Egon Schiele. Her pictures are Twisted. Colourful.
The audience. Ready to listen. Filled with self praise for finding a way to bring music to their home.
Ramon and I. We sing Marshmallow Unicorn. We share a mic too which is extra intense.
Ken Stringfellow taught me to be brave with that.
Interesting hearing my words sung by another. Like a soul transplant. Not unpleasant. But surreal.
I can see Jordi, towering over other heads. He looks pleased. An accomplishment. Weldone Cooncert.
People! It’s been more than a year since I made the momentous decision to go to the Prinzenbar to see Rachel Sermanni. Her music is astoundingly beautiful and I’d recommend you all to listen to her.
Once you have realised that you have fallen in love with her (which, to be fair, shouldn’t take longer than a few minutes), feel free to pledge a teeny bit of money for her new EP via pledgemusic. (x)
HAPPY BIRTHDAY JIMI. Here is a drawing of a purple naked lady on a motorbike.
Hannibal. Is waiting for us in the lobby.
We’ve returned from a brief explore. Clean Viennese streets. Intention was coffee. A convoluted walk leads to the truth of our journey. A music shop. The best I’ve ever entered.
A little window admiration initially. Followed by the swooping of our persons through the door. Jangling.
Sing the bowls.
Ear to gong.
Rocking chair come cradle with harp strings.
China. India. Africa. America. Flutes. Kalimbas. Banjos. Glocks. Saws. UFO’s…
Hannibal is a chancer. Enjoys to mock.
Because I am woman.
By the night’s end we’re quite good at insulting each other.
And I’ve accepted his marriage proposal. Certain death by sexism. Or passive smoking.
He and Jimi also bond over motorcycle anecdotes.
By the end of the night. Also. I am shaking with adrenaline with what is the best fun gig had in many moons.
Bluebird Songwriter festival is a gem. Thankyou Klaus-brother of Hannibal, organiser of festival.
600 faces. A small theatre space.
We’re on after Band of Buriers. 3 London boys. On listening. Feel rawed. Stripped. Forced to sincerity. To his twisted words and gruelling voice. Nervous to follow.
Jimi has had a hard but gratifying time in soundcheck. Not the easiest room. Makes strange noises into the PA. I make friends with the cleaner’s three little children. Give them a bouncy ball. It pounces down the stairwell. They teach me some German.
Gig. Back to gig.
They want more at the end. So much so, I can still hear them cheer on reaching the backstage.
We sell a record amount of merch. More than ever in one gig.
There are many to speak to.
One distant friend waits in the wings. We met once before. 3 years ago. Munich. Fink.
He plays the Hang. His name is Chris. We exchanged emails over a sense of mutual spirit. It is good to meet him again. We talk of his visit to China and his delving into visual art combined with music.
By midnight. Jimi and I are lain in the narrow, rumbling bunks of a night train cabin. Very excited with the end to our day.
Jimi buys himself asmall bottle of polish champagne.
We shall reach Munich airport.
Not before an immigration raid from the German Border polizei.
And not before, in the frenzy to get off the train, I forget my beautiful book My Name is Red, with a really good naked lady postcard book mark in the cabin.
Joni calls herself a ‘water junkie’ in that interview with Jian Gomeshi. I’d deem myself that. We also share a birthday,
Wonder if she burns incense. I like to burn incense.
Not sure hotel’s appreciate it.
Find a hole in the wall just outside the window.
A red stick sends wisps of sweet warmth. Up.
Stand. Face to the light rising. Rising wisp. Rising arms. Be my own sweet warm candle. Yoga.
Sit still. Realise how long quarter of an hour is. So much time. Just waiting around. Hanging around being ignored in the rush.
Anita drives. Jimi and I introduce her to the canadians. First up: Rose Cousins. Second: Mo Kenney.
She plays Tracy Chapman. Amos Lee. Gregory Porter.
Look, the Haribo factory.
Posthof. A very well equipped and maintained venue. Lucky Linz.
Jimi; ecstatic. Soundcheck is enough to keel him over.
Go a Run. In Dusk.
Feel like a soldier in those playstation games. Industrial buildings. Sullen. Bare. Sat beside sleepy unused rail tracks. Odd lights on in odd buildings. Freight cans. Steel cabins. Vast sandy spaces awaiting construction.
My footsteps echo soft and swift.
A sniper watches. Recruited by a secret corporation. Prevent me exposing them. No one would notice. No one would hear. A corpse for the corps.
Reach an underpass. Graffiti strokes ahead. Fear, the Cat.
Ignore the small screaming person within me. Keep on. Along a quiet cycle path. Near the shade of the bridge.
All A sudden.
Coca cola can flings from the bushes. Rattles against a lamp post.
I turn. Swift as a flee.
Chortle. Breathless. Fear tickles.
First nearly shot by a rifle. Then nearly knocked cold by a tinny.
This is the edge.
Gig. Appreciative people. Flash appear. Swoosh disappear.
Their faces shine. Changing light. Submerge. Pitch stillness.
Added amp. Added tremolo. Extra textra.
Able to hear myself; Able to lose myself.
We do most well in merch.
Edwyn has a good time. For him the people go wild.
Sit still. Read on meditation by Chogyam Trungpa. Another on mindfulness and money. Exciting.
Practice headstands. Helps the sinuses.
According to Anita it is my stomach that causes headache. Heat rising.
Anita -see last years Euro journal- helps my body and spirit on every visit. TCM -Traditional Chinese Medicine.
Works according to the elements.
Yin and Yang.
She specialises in Tuina massage.
I’d like to study TCM.
I ask Anita many questions.
Tell her about Kassim, my friend in the highlands who looks after me with acupuncture and herbs. Has a beautiful space called Natural Wellbeing across the river in Inverness. I see him each time I’m home.
Must restrain from eating raw ginger on an empty stomach. It will burn the insides and send blazing heat to the forehead. Remember this, children.
Children. Edwyn addresses the audience tonight, in Treibhaus, as this.
The biggest child in the room: Jimi.
Sound desk is analogue.
Nothing better in Jimi’s world.
Except, of course, beautiful Annabelle. His boy, Kieran (who should indeed be cycling with reflectors) and two sweet rascal girls, Daisy and Izzy.
Oh. And, Flour and Crumble.
Put the guitar through an amp. Occasionally, with strong toes, press the tiniest tremolo pedal in the world.
A boy has come all the way from Salzburg to listen. He tells me so at merch. Curious boy. Strikes me as a thinker. Studies philosophy and physics.
Tell him about a good book. Combining Quantum, philosophy and sex; ‘The End of Mr Y’ by Scarlet Thomas.
Could possibly be more of a woman’s kind of book. But then again. Dad introduced me to Hermann Hesse with caution thinking he might be a bit of a Man’s author. And I love Hesse.
Due to a clear head I am, this time, able to watch Edwyn’s set. Flanked by Calvin and James. Good guitarists.
Edwyn. The energy he emits is very powerful and his laugh is irresistible.
13 November 2013
Nicky Carder. We sleep amongst her nostalgics. Animal puppets line the pillow. A tuba case. Quiet behind the door. A cello leans in a corner. Pokemon cards rest. Silent as legend. In the attic above.
A beady eyed raccoon stirs me.
Mr Carder. Breakfast and tea is his to serve. Oscar. The pup. Breathes hot dog breath at us.
Edinburgh Airport. Consider the offer. Free Whiskey sample. Consider the time. No.
Today. We fly to Munich. Train to Lindau. Catch the connection for Dornbirn. To play as support to Edwyn Collins.
I read My Name is Red. Nap for the majority.
Jimi and I . Push and pull at the train window. It is a sliding mechanism. Our heads emerge. Little mushroom growths from the train.
Scream. Speed. Night chill. Smacks air out our lungs.
We could. We could climb out on top. Alpine cowboys.
Mad scientists. Wild eyed and Windswept. Reenter the the cabin.
Venue. Conrad Sohm. Was here three years ago. With Fink. I had just turned 20. Now I have just turned 22. Numbers. Time. Sand. Dust.
Munch Ginger. Line check. Munch a sandwich. Get onstage. Feel eruption of ache begin. Throb behind my eyes.
There are friends here.
Little. He and Jimi get on like flame and forest. Sound wizards. Little mastered the Boatshed sessions. Everything Changes EP (www.pledgemusic.com/projects/rachelsermanni). And a live album that Jen and I release next year.
Elena and Sandra. From Liechtenstein. They photo’d me last time.
Good spirits. Possibly aliens. They have hugs for me. Vanilla pastries. The best bakery in the country. I would’ve thought Liechtenstein only has space for one bakery.
A boy, Dominik says he writes poetry when he hears some of my songs. What goodness we can do for each other. Circles circles.